Best time to travel to Alaska

Alaska Fall Colors

Snap unparalleled fall color display against snow-capped mountains

Best time: mid-August–late September

Alaska Fall Colors
Alaska Fall Colors
Tanalian Falls, Lake Clark National Park

Fall foliage season is a unique experience in Alaska for a number of reasons. First of all, you can count on spectacular displays wherever you go. Besides, the period of vibrant colors is a shoulder season in the Last Frontier, so there will be fewer tourists and cheaper accommodations to choose from.

Peak fall foliage in Alaska

Fall in Alaska starts and ends quite quickly—the further north you go, the earlier the colors change. Above the arctic circle, the season comes in mid-August, but the rest of Alaska turns gold between late August and early September. By the end of September, fall foliage is pretty much gone, except in Southeast Alaska.

Where do you see fall colors in Alaska?

Alaska offers immense fall-peeping opportunities. No matter whether you visit national parks, glaciers, river gorges, or highways, you are sure to find a feast for your eyes. If you come early, a great place to start your fall adventure would be Dalton Highway. Then you can continue exploring the colors southwards in Denali National Park, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, or Lake Clark National Park.

Alaska Railroad fall foliage

One of the best ways to discover the fall colors is aboard the Alaska Railroad. A famous Hurricane Turn Train from Talkeetna and passes sweeping landscapes on the way to Hurricane Gulch. Alternatively, you could opt for a Fairbanks Family Fun Train departing from Fairbanks.

Fall colors Fairbanks Alaska

Those who want to discover more fall foliage near Fairbanks can check out the scenic Route 3 west of the city. The drive boasts beautiful overlooks. Also, consider the Steese Highway, leading north to the White Mountains. Additionally, you can switch to Elliot Highway at Fox and drive through the colors until you reach the well-known Dalton Highway.

Alaska fall Denali colors

Denali National Park is the most popular fall foliage destination in Alaska. Here you can soak up the fall splendor across its epic area of 6 million ac (2.4 million ha). Take your chance to snap fab photos of fiery landscapes with magnificent Mount Denali in the background.

Fall colors in SE Alaska

Latecomers chase fall colors in Southeast Alaska, where the beginning of the season is shifted to early September and may last till late October. Check out the forests of Sheep Creek, which combine evergreens with colorful shrubs and plants. You will see the best views at higher elevations.

Anchorage Alaska fall colors

If you're looking for some eye-catching spots near Anchorage, go kayaking on Eklunta Lake. This beautiful gem is nestled in the woods, just 40 minutes south of the city. Besides, you can take the northeast direction to the Matanuska Glacier. Every mile of the journey along the Glenn Highway will leave you in awe.

When planning your fall colors trip in Alaska, be aware that the best time to visit the state is before late September, as most tourist businesses close towards the end of the month. Besides, you risk stranding yourself in the Great Land because of stormy weather. Also, have a look at the Alaska fall foliage map below for the best hotel deals.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Alaska to see fall colors?

Alaska is best enjoyed for fall colors from mid-August to late September. If you travel north, autumn colors set in earlier. September's end marks the time when the leaves are gone, except in Southeast Alaska. This is the time the forests come to life with red, orange & gold colors. Be sure to plan your trip accordingly to enjoy the fall scenery. Show more

Where can you see fall colors in Alaska?

You can explore Alaska's national parks, glaciers, river gorges, highways, among other options, for a vibrant fall foliage experience. For early fall foliage explorers, Dalton Highway is an excellent starting point, followed by Denali, Wrangell St. Elias and Lake Clark National parks. Leisurely late fall foliage viewers can visit Southeast Alaska for the spectacular display of colors. Show more

What are some recommended scenic drives for viewing fall colors in Alaska?

A trip to Alaska in autumn is incomplete without experiencing the famous Dalton Highway or the Alaska Railroad Hurricane Turn or Fairbanks Family Fun Train. For those seeking more fall foliage, the scenic Route 3 west of Fairbanks and the Steese Highway leading north to White Mountains are perfect. The Glenn Highway drive to Matanuska Glacier offers breathtaking views of nature's beauty. Show more

What is the most popular destination for fall foliage in Alaska?

Denali National Park covers an extensive area of around 6 million acres making it the most popular of the fall foliage destinations in Alaska. The stunning fire-red and gold-colored landscapes create a perfect backdrop for Mt. Denali that complements any photo of the area. Alaska's splendid autumn colors are visible throughout, making it an ideal destination for admiring the vibrant colors of fall foliage. Show more

Are there any notable fall foliage viewing activities in Anchorage?

Fall displays of color are best enjoyed on Eklunta Lake, situated 40 minutes south of Anchorage while kayaking. Northeast of Anchorage, the Glenn Highway leading to Matanuska Glacier also offers colorful fall experiences. Remember, the best time to visit Alaska is before late September, because businesses start closing towards the end of the month. The weather during this time is stormy and should be considered before planning your trip. Show more

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